Celgene (CELG) is trading slightly higher after acquiring the leading independent cell therapy immune oncology company Juno Therapeutics (JUNO +26%) for $9 billion. Celgene already had an existing partnership and a 9% stake in Juno. Reports of this potential deal sent Juno's stock surging last week.
Celgene said this deal provides growth for the next decade. Juno is a pioneer in the development of CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T and TCR (T cell receptor) therapeutics with a broad, novel portfolio evaluating multiple targets and cancer indications.
Adding to Celgene's lymphoma program, JCAR017 (liso-cel) represents a potentially best-in-class CD19-directed CAR T currently in a pivotal program for relapsed and/or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Regulatory approval for JCAR017 in the U.S. is expected in 2019 with potential global peak sales of ~$3 billion.
The company also sees a big opportunity against BCMA (B-cell maturation antigen), a key target in multiple myeloma. Juno is already partnered with bluebird (BLUE +11%) for its lead anti-BCMA asset for multiple myeloma and that partnership will not change.
The potential for CAR T in solid tumors represents long-term optionaity/upside in the deal.
Celgene also reaffirmed its 2020 financial targets.
Celgene is the leading oncology company and it seems couldn't let Juno get away after Gilead (GILD) acquired its rival Kite Pharma for $12 billion last year.
The company will report Q4 results on Thursday morning but management has already preannounced 2017 results and issued guidance for fiscal 2018.